PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 06 May 2022 -
Workforce woes continue for tourism operators
New Zealand’s tourism workforce is woefully understaffed and underprepared ahead of the busy ski season, National’s Associate Tourism spokesperson Joseph Mooney and Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford say.
“Working holidaymakers are this Government's only answer to servicing the tourism industry, yet only 251 people have arrived since the border reopened,” Joseph Mooney says.
“When Tourism Minister Stuart Nash was asked about these figures, his response was simply that he ‘hoped more working holidaymakers would arrive before the ski season’ and has no other answers to the sector’s critical workforce problems in the near term.
“Pinning the success of New Zealand’s former biggest industry on hope is a startling and concerning strategy, particularly as tourism operators have long been crying out for support. Now they face having to work excessive and potentially dangerous hours in order to cover the inevitable shortfall.”
“This also falls at the feet of Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi who has failed to offer any solutions other than working holidaymakers who are a short term and transient workforce, and certainly not whom we should solely rely on for the recovery of our former biggest sector,” Erica Stanford says.
“The Minister was asked in March to bring forward the Accredited Employer Work Visa timeline to allow foreign workers back into New Zealand as soon as possible.
“This has not happened. Instead, a Critical Worker Visa was announced with great fanfare and promises that 20,000 workers would arrive. However, without the resumption of residency pathways, just six people have arrived on this visa since February.
“This Labour Government has had 24 months to plan for the return of tourists, yet the Immigration Minister’s failure to facilitate the arrival of skilled workers has put a handbrake on our tourism industry.”